Thursday, March 31, 2022

As usual, college basketball had a marvelous month of March, but so too did The Meadowlands, where wagering was at an extremely high level, so much so in fact, that average betting per race card exceeded $3 million for the first time during March in recent history.

A total of $24,335,974 was pushed through the windows on the eight programs, good for a nightly average of $3,041,996. The average per race was $234,000.

Business was up over a year ago when the numbers were $23,162,002, $2,895,250 and $222,711, respectively.

“I am happy to report that business was very solid in March,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “Which is very encouraging considering how popular the NCAA Tournament has become. Even though the NCAA games played deep into the night on Fridays and Saturdays, The Meadowlands showed solid handle increases across the board. The average March handle of over $3 million a night continues our successful path since Gov. (Phil) Murphy and the N.J. State Legislature passed the horse racing bill in 2018.”

The numbers back that up.

Here are the average per-card handle figures for the month of March since 2017:

  • 2017: $2,275,885
  • 2018: $2,586,492
  • 2019: $2,929,864
  • 2020: $2,674,409
  • 2021: $2,895,250
  • 2022: $3,041,996


NHC WINNERS: Harry Sukhram of the Bronx captured the NTRA National Handicapping Championship Qualifier at The Meadowlands on Saturday (March 26) after building his $200 bankroll into $2,163.50. Paul Caltagirone of Manchester, NJ, finished in second place with $1,731.30. As a result, Sukhram and Caltagirone both earned spots in the 2023 NHC Final in Las Vegas.


DERBY DRAWS NEARER: Speaking of qualifying, some of the best 3-year-olds in training will be on display Saturday (April 2) in a pair of major Kentucky Derby preps, The Florida Derby and The Arkansas Derby.

Thoroughbred racing enthusiasts can watch and wager on the action in The Meadowlands’ expansive simulcast betting area.

The Florida Derby, which takes place at Gulfstream Park, has a purse of $1 million and a post time of 6:38 p.m., while the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park – which has a purse of $1.25 million – will head to the gate at 7:35 p.m.

The Kentucky Derby takes place at Churchill Downs on May 7.

WHHC IN APRIL: With The Meadowlands being the top Standardbred venue in the sport, it’s a natural that the World Harness Handicapping Championship Final would be held at The Big M (it takes place on Sept. 10), and those who’d like to earn a spot in the big event can do so when there is another WHHC Qualifier at the mile oval on Saturday, April 30.

The contest has a $400 buy-in – $200 is a non-refundable entry fee and a $200 “betting card” must also be purchased. Entrants keep all pari-mutuel winnings, and there are a maximum of four entries per person.

What could work out to be even bigger than players keeping their winnings? The top four finishers will win a spot in the WHHC Final.

For complete information, go to

THE FAB FOUR: The NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament – which began with 68 teams with championship dreams – is now down to four, and hoops fans can come to The Meadowlands, where the No. 1 sports betting facility in the world, The FanDuel Sportsbook, will offer all the action a player could possibly want.

The two semifinals take place on Saturday (April 2). In the first game, which tips off at 6:09 p.m., Kansas is a 4½-point favorite over Villanova. The Jayhawks are -200 on the money line and the under/over is 133.

The second game pits Duke (-4) against arch-rival North Carolina in an 8:49 p.m. start. The Blue Devils are -196 on the money line and the under/over is 151.

The FanDuel Sportsbook is located inside The Meadowlands and is open for business Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-1 a.m.; Friday 10 a.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-2 a.m. and Sunday 8 a.m.-12 a.m.

LIVE RACING SCHEDULE: Racing at The Big M is conducted on a Friday-Saturday basis and has a first-race post time of 6:20 p.m.

The track’s live “Racing from The Meadowlands” pregame show kicks off nightly at 5:47 p.m.

On Friday, Jessica Otten will make her way from the back paddock and join Dave Brower on the Sam McKee Memorial Broadcast Set.

Saturday night will see the usual team of Brower and Dave Little, but before the “Two Daves” talk about the card, Little will be joined by trainer Per Engblom in another edition of the track’s interview segment “In the Sulky”.

FREE PROGRAMS: Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands program are available 48 hours before a given card. To access the no-cost official program pages, go to

GET ON TWITTER: Everything Meadowlands is available by going on Twitter. You can check in with the Big M team for early changes, racing information and staff selections by going to @themeadowlands or #playbigm.

On race nights, stay in touch with Otten (@JessicaOtten1), Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Shades (@ShadesOnRacing) and Edison Hatter (@Edison_1999_).

A HALF-DOZEN CHANCES: The Meadowlands offers its faithful six opportunities nightly to make a score by betting into pools with a low 15 percent takeout as well as low minimum base bets. Here is a list of those wagers, and when they are offered:

  • Race 1: 20-cent Pick-5
  • Race 3:20-cent Survivor Pick-7
  • Race 6: 50-cent Early Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 8:20-cent Pick-6
  • Race 10: 50-cent Late Pick-4 ($50,000 guaranteed pool)
  • Race 13:10-cent Pentafecta/Hi-5

WHO DOES BROWER LIKE? For expert selections and analysis of every Big M card, check out track oddsmaker Brower’s race reviews.

For Brower’s input, which is generally available 48 hours before every card, go to, then click on the “handicapping” tab and go to “race reviews”.